Monthly Archives: February 2009

Ski in Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains – Travel the Slopes of Oukaimeden and Mischliffen

 

toubkal-1Imagine soaring down white powdered slopes, edging your way through the soft snow on a clear brisk day. Now imagine that you are doing this in Morocco! Most people associate Morocco with camels trekking through deserts of sand, not snow capped mountain peaks. But what the average traveler does not know is that Morocco is home to some of the best skiing in all of Africa.

Most of Morocco’s ski resorts are deep within the Atlas Mountains. Oukaimeden, a premier resort lies just south of Marrakech. Mischliffen a mountain town in the Middle Atlas is referred to as the “Moroccan Aspen”  and is not far from Fez.

Oukaimeden and Mischliffen would be considered intermediate runs, both containing ski lifts and equipment rentals.  These slopes cater to the average skier looking to enjoy beautiful Moroccan terrain.

For those more experienced Morocco also contains expert ski slopes in areas like Tazaghart. Tazaghart is extremely adventurous terrain suited only for those with years of training and experience.

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Travelers can also snowshoe, cross-country ski, mountain trek and ski tour within these areas. The frosted peaks provide beautiful natural scenery you can explore on foot or on ski. Outdoor adventure is best recommended from November to mid June. 

Skiing and trekking Morocco is a great way to see enticing areas surrounding Marrakech and the high Atlas Mountains.

To learn more about outdoor activities in Morocco, please visit Travel-Exploration.Com

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Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Google on call Travel Exploration at (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Unwind in a Moroccan Bath House- An Intimate Tour of A Hammam

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Walking into the elaborately decorated Hammam you are greeted by a smiling woman who directs you to yourprivate changing room. Dressed in a robe you pass bubbling fountains, huge bouquets of fresh exotic flowers, and ornate wall hangings as the woman leads the way to the sauna where your Moroccan bath house experience will begin.

As the door to the sauna opens steam billows out and envelops you, clouding your vision and filling your head with the sweet smells of orange blossoms and rose water. Immediately you feel your muscles relaxing and your pores opening, after another hot day in the Moroccan sun your tanned skin welcomes the delicious steam and drinks it in greedily. Your masseuse enters the sauna and hands you some black soap and asks you to cover yourself in it, it will cleanse as well as exfoliate, she explains. After covering every inch of your body in the soap you lie back and let the steam work its magic. Soothing music plays as your masseuse gently wipes off the soap with an exfoliate glove, sluicing all of the impurities and dead skin off and leaving your skin feeling smooth and fresh. The sweet smell of almonds fill the air as she prepares for your full body massage.

Moroccan bath houses, or Hammams, are an important aspect of Middle Eastern and North African cultures. Serving as both a place for social gathering as well as a place for ritual cleansing most Moroccans visits a Hammam at least once a week. Moroccans traditionally perform their own cleansing which consists of placing a mat on the floor and lying in a sauna-like room allowing your body to sweat out any impurities. While tourists are welcome to visit these traditional Hammams more private and luxurious bath houses, that closely resemble spas in the US, are also available. These Hammams offer exfoliation with a rough flat glove called a kiis and full body massages along with the time in the sauna.

So whether you have been exploring the city, hiking the mountains, or traversing the desert on camelback a Moroccan Hammam is the perfect place to relax, cleanse, and unwind.

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Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Google on call Travel Exploration at (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Travel Within Fes Morocco’s Leather Tanneries

fez-leather-tannieriesHidden deep within Fes, Morocco’s major economic metropolis, are an array of colored dyes spread over the city floor in large cement vats, the 600 year old tanneries. The pallet of pomegranate red, burnt orange, saffron yellow and wild mint green can be seen from the surrounding rooftops and terraces.

While the tanneries have retained hundreds of years of artistry and tradition, they may as well be the foulest smelling attraction in all of Morocco. When visiting the ancient sites guides will offer tourists fresh mint leaves to put under their nose.

Generations of laborers have toiled in the same honeycomb vessels. Shoeless, the workers climb into the tubs to knead the leather skins for hours, the dye staining their arms and legs. The smells hint towards some kind of potent secret ingredient: pigeon droppings. These excretions soften the skins and work to produce the famous Moroccan leather. Skins come fresh from the slaughter and hundred of hides are worked on at once.

When the leather has been treated it is hung or laid to dry on the flat rooftops. When tourists are exploring in the tanneries they can make their way to the nearby market to visit a number of leather shops where the incredible leather goods are sold.

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Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Google on call Travel Exploration at (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Bizarre Foods Morocco

Check out this Bizarre Foods episode with Andrew Zimmern from the Travel Channel!

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Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Google on call Travel Exploration at (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Moroccan Recipes – Secret Ingredients And Tour A Traditional Kitchen

The hosts clap their hands and you sit at the table taking in the light scents of mint, cumin and saffron and a distant aroma of pomegranate glaze. In front of you is a dish of Moroccan lamb with a garbanzo bean mash and then a series of courses follow. The host goes around with a dish of rose water and for a ritual hand cleansing before the meal.  The meal is served at a low table with a bright colored cloth blanketing the wood. You sit patiently on the floor cushion ready to dig in.

OK so, it is easy to imagine this delectable feast, but not so easy to transport yourself to the table for this precise and artistically prepared meal. If you are headed to Morocco, or have an interest in Moroccan cuisine, you might like to test out or reenact a traditional meal of your own.

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Some things to know:

  • In some cases it takes a host/hostess anywhere up to a week to prepare a meal for an honored guest.
  • Most households in Morocco make their own breads.
  • Preserved lemons add a salty, distinctive lemon flavor to many Moroccan dishes.
  • Tagine refers to both a ceramic piece of cookware and the stew-like dish it is prepared in.
  • Berbers, the first inhabitants of Morocco,  use local ingredients, such as olives, figs, and dates, to prepare lamb and poultry stews.

Here are some Moroccan recipes that I found:

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Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Google on call Travel Exploration at (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Shop the Souks of Morocco

A weekend in Morocco can be just as magical as a lengthy stay. The aroma of fresh spices sifting through the air, meats sizzling over an open flame, detailed carpets being unraveled at the market place, snakes entranced by the high pitched pungi, a pot of mint tea and a camel trek through the desert sand all in just a few days.  Many travelers, like Natalie Roberts of Minnesota, get to experience just a small taste of Moroccan culture.

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While studying in Spain, Roberts had the opportunity to head south for the weekend and roam the ancient streets of Morocco.  She boarded the plane as she clutched the Royal Air Moroc ticket in her hand. Going to Morocco had been a dream of hers since high school.

Roaming through  Casablanca, Roberts said,  “We walked to the roof and looked out upon the vibrant city. When we came back down, we shared a pot of mint tea. This would be the start of our three-day tea binge, consuming our weight in mint, green tealeaves, water, and sugar. Unfortunately we did not have long to stay in Casablanca and were welcomed with a constant mist, which later became veritable rainfall. ”

Travelers venturing around Europe or Northern Africa shouldn’t miss a day or two in Morocco or even just a cup of mint tea, but if you happen to pass through make sure not to miss Marrakech!

Roberts continued, “We spent what little time we had the next morning drinking tea, and visiting the tallest minaret in the world. Then we left Casablanca and headed to l’estacion du tren to make our way to Marrakech.”

With little time left Roberts immerged herself into the city and wondered through Marrkech’s maze like souks. She said, “That allowed us a day and a half to peruse the souks and try the local cuisine. Walking through the souks was like going to a North African themed renaissance festival and suddenly realizing it’s all real and the actors aren’t going back to the suburbs in the evening. There were leopard skins, rhinoceros horns, Gucci and Prada. ”

She couldn’t help but leave with her hands full of bargains. Roberts said, “Bartering in French was tricky and at the end of the day our purchases were extensive, including such items as a fake rolex, a teapot, necklaces, scarves, sandals and shirts. Having spent entirely to much, I woke the next day to meet Tamir, the camel I would ride. She led the pack and was nice enough to only drool on me once.”

As Roberts left for the plane she knew she would someday return to this place, and hopefully for much longer.n1282260055_30046063_99671

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Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Google on call Travel Exploration at (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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Morocco’s International Marathon – A Running Tour Through Marrakech

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Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Younes Errami, a Moroccan citizen studying at the Cadi Ayyad University to get insight on one of Morocco’s greatest pastimes. Football (what the U.S. refers to as soccer) is one of Morocco’s most prized activities.

KJ: I would love to hear about your extracurricular activities, do you play any sports, or follow any teams?

“The majority or Moroccans choose sports as extracurricular activity, especially football. It’s the most popular sport in Morocco, among both rich and poor classes of the society!”

“There are those who love and support local teams like “widad” , “raja” or “kawkab” those are one of the most popular football teams in morocco!”

“Moroccans also follow Spanish football and supports its famous teams like “barca” and “real”, you would find the cafés really overcrowded when one of these two teams are playing,, everybody goes to watch the match!”

“Personally, I play and watch football too like the majority of boys of my age!”

KJ: Which team do you root for?

“My favorite team is “Inter Milano” an Italian one, and then the local one “kawkab” which is the team of my city Marrakech!

KJ: Where do you go to watch the games?

“Normally to watch football we either go to a friend’s house, or to coffee shops, which is so common!

KJ: Do the coffee shops serve food or drinks? When are the games generally watched?

“Once there we normally get a drink (no they don’t serve food in those coffee shops) we can order a coffee or a lemonade, in some other coffees they serve “chicha” for those who like to smoke it!
Generally the games are watched the weekends at the evenings!”

KJ: Is there a large sense of pride for the Moroccan teams or any rivalries?

“Yes, there is a large sense of pride for the Moroccan teams, and especially for the national team, when the Moroccan national team is playing you’ll would find the streets really empty, everybody watch those games, all the family! And after the game, if the national team wins, everybody goes out to celebrate, you would find people with flags, cars horns, people singing and hugging each other, it’s really something good to see!”

KJ: That’s great that you play football as well, do you join organized leagues?

“There are some football clubs that young people can join if they have some potential, but the only problem is that most of them are not free, especially the first couple of years, then if they choose you, you won’t have to pay then, because you will be representing the team!”

KJ: Would woman be found watching the games, or playing in them?

“There are some women football team but they are not so popular like men’s ones, I would say that women generally are not into playing football, yet there are a lot of them who love watching it!”

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Travel Exploration specializes in Morocco Travel. We provide Tours and travel opportunities to Morocco for the independent traveler and tailor-made tours for families and groups with a distinctly unique flavor. From Morocco’s Seven Imperial Cities, to the Magical Sahara Travel Exploration offers a captivating experience that will inspire you. At Travel Exploration we guarantee that you will discover the best of Morocco! Google on call Travel Exploration at (917)703-2078 and let’s book a tour to Morocco for you today.

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